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Survival Flights back to business, reassures safety

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Survival Flight is back to business, and is reminding the community of its commitment to safety.

You might remember at the end of September, a few days after the medical helicopter company started operating out of Comanche County Memorial Hospital, one of its choppers made a hard emergency landing in the middle of Gore Boulevard.

The NTSB has not yet released the reason why the chopper was forced to make the landing.

Friday, Survival Flight and its new chopper were welcomed back to the community with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The ceremony was a formality for the community because Survival Flight has been already flying with their new chopper since the beginning of November. So far, about 30 flights with no incident. And Survival Flight employees say that's how it should be.

The new Survival Flights medical helicopter headed to its temporary hangar at the Lawton Airport after a quick fly over at the ribbon cutting. A few renovations prevented it from landing at its usual spot at the hospital, but soon it will be back home. Survival Flight officials and employees were more than ready to announce they are up and running.

At the end of September, that emergency hard landing left them without a helicopter.

But now the replacement is in, and Ryan Sand, the Base Clinical Manager, says safety is, and always will be, their focus.

"Absolutely, it's a scary thing to see a helicopter on the street when it doesn't belong on the street,” said Sand. “Especially when it's a little bit banged up, and we understand that. It's nerve wracking for the crew that was on board. But we purchase really good helicopters. We have very good pilots. We have  a lot of dedication to safety. We want to make sure that everyone comes back at the end of every day."

Sand says thanks to their pilot, who is a 20-year combat veteran, that landing was a best-case scenario.

"For us, that incident was no more than an ambulance getting rear-ended,” said Sand. “Unfortunately, in aviation there is always some level of risk. We understand that coming into the job. If we weren't comfortable with the level of safety that our company provides, none of our crew would be here."

Member of the Survival Flight crew Scotty Jackson, who will be taking to the skies all over southwest Oklahoma, wants the community to know, that they're here to help.

"I've pretty much seen everything,” said Jackson. “I mean, we see usually the worst of the worst, and that's what we deal with on a daily basis. We're just another tool in the toolbox for the fire departments, and the EMS out there. We can take care of you, anything that ails you, we're there for you."

Survival Flights has a lot of features not offered with other medical helicopter companies like allowing a family member to ride with the patient to the hospital, something that means a lot to the parent or spouse that is worried about their loved one.

If you want to sign up for a Survival Flights membership, check out their plans here.

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